Topic Author
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2001 4:03 pm

Question On Flying By Hand

Sun Apr 08, 2001 12:10 pm

Hey everyone,

I have a quick question about flying the bigger planes by hand.

I understand that most of the flight in smaller plane's (C172 or similar) is done by hand. But how much of a flight on the larger jets (777 or similar) is done by hand? I understand that almost all approaches are flown manually, though.

Thanx for the help,

Bryan Becker
Posts: 327
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2001 12:38 pm

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Sun Apr 08, 2001 12:26 pm

all i know is that they will do the departure and landing manually,unless with the newer jets that hve cat III the plane can land it self. SmileBut they will not always use auto landing.The rest of the flight is done by the auto pilot.
Hope that helped,enybody want to fill in the holes?

-BryanBecker Big thumbs up
Posts: 2295
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 3:54 pm

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Sun Apr 08, 2001 2:22 pm

I know when I get a fly I hand fly it to top of climb and again from top of descent.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Posts: 2694
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2000 3:44 am

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Sun Apr 08, 2001 2:53 pm

It's really at the pilot's discretion. Some pilots elect to fly it all the way up to cruising altitude while others may fly to 10000. While many aircraft and airports are CAT III approved, this doesn't mean that an autoland will be executed. Besides practice runs, this procedure is only used when the weather justifies such action.
Posts: 810
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2000 10:55 am

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Sun Apr 08, 2001 3:34 pm

Well...I fly a 727 which is pretty low tech. I hand fly up to about 18K on the climbout and turn the autopilot on. On the descent, if the weather is good and I'm planning on an easy visual approach, I'll kick the autopilot off at 10K on the way down. If the weather is bad, I'll usually leave the autopilot on until base leg vectors for the approach when the flaps start going down. High tech planes, like the 757 or scarebus, will be on autopilot a lot more....like autopilot on above 1000 AGL.

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Sun Apr 08, 2001 8:03 pm

The answer is :it depends on crew workload and the type of approach.
In a heavy workload environment (ie big airport,loads of RT traffic and vectors),it's better to keep the A/P on until you're on finals,esdpecially in a two-man-crew cockpit.On the other hand,a small airport/visual circuit one can elect to hand fly from the top of descent.
That is called situation awareness and airmanship.
BTW,being a 727 F/O does'nt allow one to print derogatory names on smth one does'nt know about,especially when one has to teach tolerance and a lot of other qualitiesto young people.

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Mon Apr 09, 2001 12:10 am

For what it's worth, here is the basic philosophy of our flight department...

The autopilot, like any other tool at our disposal, can be properly used and it can also be dangerously abused. As professionals, we would like to believe that we can all hand fly all the various types of approaches down to their respective minimums correctly and proficiently without any type of aid - flight director, autopilot, etc. If we can't do that, then we need to either get more training or change professions - period. That being said, we spend great sums of money to provide redundancies for nearly every system on our aircraft - multi engines, dual this, triple that, etc., etc. When we hand fly an ILS approach down to minimums, what redundancy to we have in case of "pilot failure"? If the PNF is doing his job is he going to be able to effectively take the controls in the case of a botched approach? Obviously not, and even if he were able to, is solid IFR at 200' AGL and with a 700 fpm sink rate the time and place to be making those types of changes?

I believe that we can and should hand fly all of the "high and mid" minimums approaches we want, but when the ceiling gets below 500 feet and the visibility gets below a mile couple it up and let the autopilot do its thing. We then become the backup to the autopilot and we have injected an element of redundancy into the operation. In that rare case that the autopilot messes up and gets us sideways to the world, relief is only a click of the button away. In the mean time, you've been able to watch and monitor the approach while covering the controls. If it ever becomes necessary, the transition is both instantaneous and seamless. In reality, how many time per year do we actually fly approached right down to minimums? Not very many. I'd say that we actually run more of a chance to have a pilot screwup than an autopilot failure.

We've all flown with those hairy chested pilots who say that "real" pilots don't use auto pilots. I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Real pilots know when to use them and when not to and we're just not talking during approaches either. There are other times when we probably have no business hand flying our high performance turbine-powered aircraft. For example, below 10,000' MSL on VFR days. Can you really hand fly your aircraft while maintaining an adequate watch for traffic?

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Mon Apr 09, 2001 1:59 am

Larger jets are usually flown by the autopilot if they have a high gross weight, and flown by hand if they don't.
Topic Author
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2001 4:03 pm

RE: Question On Flying By Hand

Mon Apr 09, 2001 3:05 am

Thanks a lot for the great responses everyone! That really helped answer my question.


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